India’s position on Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 further deteriorates after it slips to the 101st spot out of 116 countries, lagging behind its neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
Eighteen countries, including China, Brazil, and Kuwait, shared the top rank with a GHI score of less than five, NDTV reported quoting the website of the GHI that tracks hunger and malnutrition on Thursday.
While Pakistan’s ranking has improved, the level of malnutrition is still being labeled as serious. The country ranked 92nd out of 116 with a score of 24.7, which indicated a serious level of hunger.
Except for India, the ranking of Pakistan is lower than all other countries of South Asia and other neighboring countries.
The GHI score is calculated on four indicators:
- Wasting — the share of children under the age of five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute under-nutrition.
- Stunting — children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic under-nutrition
- Mortality — the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organization Welt Hunger Hilfe, termed the level of hunger in India “alarming”.
In 2020, India was ranked 94th out of 107 countries. Now with 116 countries in the fray, it has dropped to 101st rank. India’s GHI score has also decelerated – from 38.8 in 2000 to the range of 28.8 – 27.5 between 2012 and 2021.
The share of wasting among children in India rose from 17.1 percent between 1998-2002 to 17.3 percent between 2016 and 2020, according to the report.
“People have been severely hit by COVID-19 and by pandemic-related restrictions in India, the country with the highest child wasting rate worldwide,” the report said.
Neighboring countries doing far better
Neighboring countries like Nepal (76), Bangladesh (76), Myanmar (71), and Pakistan (92) are also in the ‘alarming’ hunger category. However, they have fared better at feeding their citizens than India, according to the report.
Meanwhile, India has shown improvement in other indicators such as the under-5 mortality rate, prevalence of stunting among children, and prevalence of undernourishment owing to inadequate food, the report said.
According to the report, the fight against hunger is dangerously off-track. Based on the current GHI projections, the world as a whole and 47 countries, in particular, will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.
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